One often wonders, what friends who you haven‘t seen for a long time, are doing. At the same time, online social network platforms such as mySpace.com, Facebook or StudiVZ enable people to stay in contact. My projects look at this peripheral awareness of one‘s social circle; the mood tags on these portals, that communicate in some level the presence of the others‘ mental state without direct contact.
However, describing one‘s own mood turns out to be quite difficult. So much worse, when you have to choose one from the predefined 200 adjectives at mySpace.com. The reality is more complex than that, and a single keyword is not sufficient to do justice to the feeling.
These data sculptures attempt to maintain this ambivalence. When looking at these sculptures, one should not directly be able to read the mental state of the subject, who might feel „bored“, „angry“ or „freshed“. Instead, the focus is on conveying more general feeling of the friend‘s mood. The mere process of thinking of the moods of the other is at the essence of these works. It is more through introspection rather than direct display of hard facts that the connection between friends and colleagues is maintained.
Akin to the „weeping willow“ - project, the Rose of Jericho taps to the mood data of one‘s social network available on mySpace.com web portal.
The rose of jericho is a flower growing in deserts, like Sahara, and is able to survive very long times without water. When watered, the branches rapidly spread out. The process of curling up and opening is completely reversible and can be repeated many times. In this project, the water supply for the rose is controlled by the friend‘s mood as described on mySpace. Happier or more wholesome state results in plenty of water for the plant, and sadness curbs the water supply all together.
A computer program reads the mood adjective at the friends myspace-account in realtime from the internet. The adjective is compared against a database to map a numerical value to the emotion. This value defines the duration of the water pump controlled by a microcontroller, which is irrigating the rose of jericho. The higher the value the more water is arriving to the plant.